When it comes to travel, riding on airplanes can be an adventure in itself. I typically prefer to have my own lovely assigned seat and don’t enjoy being cued up like cattle, so I do sometimes avoid Southwest Airlines. There, you have to hope you get far enough ahead in line to avoid getting the dreaded middle seat. That said, if it’s still open on a full flight, you run risk of having the largest person you’ve ever scene attempt to squash themselves into it. Often, failing miserably and oozing into your personal space. This makes flying rather uncomfortable, but at least when you fly Southwest you can always count on some down home honesty from the crew. I thought today, I’d share some overheard conversations I captured on a single flight.
Once, while flying back from somewhere I can’t even remember at the moment, I was tired, rushed and bored, so I decided to write a little to take my mind off things. Instead of journaling about my trip, I found myself fascinating with the conversations of the flight crew taking place all around me. It actually started before we even left the ground when the pilot crackled across the intercom with his initial greeting.
PILOT: Hey there folks. We sure appreciate you travelin’ with us today and we’ll do what we can to get ya there safely. I apologize for the lack of water on the airplane today in the lavs, the water lines were all froze up. We do have some of that hand sanitizer back there for ya though. So, that should do it.
I made an immediate note to not order anything to drink as there was no way I was going near that bathroom. To top it all off, I was starving and hadn’t had a chance to eat anything yet. I got stuck at the very back of the plane and wasn’t sure if there was any food left when the flight attendant finally made it back to me.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We have two sandwiches left.
CHARLIE: What kind?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We’re not sure.
CHARLIE: Not sure?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We switched caterers… so… it could be chicken or it could be tuna… it’s kind of mystery meat.
CHARLIE: I’ll take them both. And I’ll let you know what it is.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yes, please do!
The sandwiches came and were indeed made from some lightly colored canned meat that tasted like neither chicken nor tuna. They just tasted like lumpy mayonnaise. They were incredibly messy and with the water situation, I had no way to wash my hands so I just kept wiping them with a napkin stupidly as though that alone would remove the not quite chicken/tuna smell from my fingers.
As I was nearing the end of the flight, I overheard a conversation initiated by the flight attendant who had served me my mystery meat. This time, she had a captive audience in the form of a woman sitting at the back of the plane who sounded like she didn’t want any part of the conversation:
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: You, know, it’s really economical to hunt your own meat.
PASSENGER: Oh…Is it?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yeah, and depending on how deer is prepared I can’t really tell the difference between that and cow meat.
PASSENGER: Oh really?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: I had a roommate from California once that said, “Oh my god, you’re killing Bambi!” Then I slipped it in her food and she loved it.
PASSENGER: Did she…?
FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yeah… but when she found out, she yelled at me and told me she’d kill me in my sleep if I ever did it again… so, you know… I stopped.
Needless to say, I suddenly begin to wonder just want type of mystery meat was lurking in my sandwiches. But truthfully, I was having a blast. These were people who didn’t seem to care about the proper thing to say and simply said whatever came to mind and went with it. In other words, they were actually my people. As I type this now, having no clue what I’m going to say next and not really editing what comes out, I appreciate this flight crew all the more. Saying what comes to mind and just being yourself is never really a bad thing. In fact, it can make a rather stressful flight somewhat more enjoyable. Especially if you happen to be trapped in the middle seat.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.